Lentil Ragù

One of the benefits to this lentil ragù (aside from the fact that it’s delicious!) is that it’s made in the slow cooker, allowing you to focus on other things throughout your day. This lentil ragù is fat free, iron rich and is packed full of lots of vegetables, making it a very healthy dish indeed.

Source: Lentil Ragù

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Core values

I realised after watching the latest Disney movie Inside Out that respecting your body and enjoying using it to live your best life is extremely important to me. This is why I started writing my lean green year in January. So as a reminder to myself on what I want to achieve with my body I am posting a picture of one of my role models, Abby Wambach. I may not want or get to be as strong as her but I definaetly want to try to get my body into good shape. The picture also shows how my teenage body looked like. This was quite fit and healthy but not what I want to go back to that person  either. At the end of the day I just want to be the best version of myself, spiritually and physically. So let’s give this a go.

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Day something or other (Middle of the 8 day retreat) A day of silence.

I’m 3/4 of the way through my day of silence and feel pretty good. I haven’t felt the need to chat or engage verbally with my fellow retreaters and I’m really understanding just how much chatter goes on in my head. I always thought that I could reach the space between thought easily but it turns out I’m wrong. I feel a bit fraudulent calling this blog The Honest Buddhist because after 3 or 4 days of teaching I came here thinking I had a basic understanding but it turns out I’m completely ignorant, that’s ok though I’m enjoying all the learning and meditations.
The one thing that is puzzling though is that after 47 years I am not eating myself anymore. Something has switched off a need in my sub conscious brain which has stopped me putting my fingers in my mouth and biting my nails. It’s weird because I only noticed it when I started to scratch myself by accident. My nails have grown in 4 days to the longest that I have ever seen them and it feels strange when I think about it. I thought when I realised that the  nail biting had stopped that I would automatically start again but it hasn’t.  What is it about the Buddhism  practice  which has stopped this habit on a subconscious level?
My rational explanation is this. We have been practising the  Chenrezig  Prayers and as he is the embodiment of compassion then maybe it has reached my child self and confirmed “it’s ok, you can stop eating yourself you have enough food now.” Or “Don’t stress…it’s all ok”. Whatever it is I am happy and grateful. I have no expectations that  this may be switched off for good, I’m just happy that I am full at the moment.
OM MANI PEME HUNG

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Day something or other (Middle of the 8 day retreat) A day of silence.

I’m 3/4 of the way through my day of silence and feel pretty good. I haven’t felt the need to chat or engage verbally with my fellow retreaters and I’m really understanding just how much chatter goes on in my head. I always thought that I could reach the space between thought easily but it turns out I’m wrong. I feel a bit fraudulent calling this blog The Honest Buddhist because after 3 or 4 days of teaching I came here thinking I had a basic understanding but it turns out I’m completely ignorant, that’s ok though I’m enjoying all the learning and meditations.
The one thing that is puzzling though is that after 47 years I am not eating myself anymore. Something has switched of a need in my sub conscious brain which has stopped me putting my fingers in my mouth and biting my nails. It’s weird because I only noticed it when I started to scratch myself by accident. My nails have grown in 4 days to the longest that I have ever seen them and it feels strange when I think about it. I thought when I realised that the  nail biting had stopped that I would automatically start again but it hasn’t.  What is it about the Buddhism  practice  which has stopped this habit on a subconscious level?
My rational explanation is this. We have been practising the  Chenrezig  Prayers and as he is the embodiment of compassion then maybe it has reached my child self and confirmed “it’s ok, you can stop eating yourself you have enough food now.” Or “Don’t stress…it’s all ok”. Whatever it is I am happy and grateful. I have no expectations that  this may be switched off for good, I’m just happy that I am full at the moment.
OM MANI PEME HUNG

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Day 2 Samye Ling 8 day retreat

My mind is the sky and I  don’t need to worry about the weather. The dark clouds that have hung over me these last few months and felt oppressive when I’ve noticed them no longer feel the need to linger. It seems to becoming clearer and I can see the clouds in the sky and I can just say “it’s only weather”. Only one full day of meditation and prayer has made me remember something I knew deep inside me but seemed to have forgotten.    Bringing myself back to me in a day seems astounding but I really do feel better already. It’s an intense day and packed full but there’s plenty time to relish the surroundings. After tea tonight (an amazing pea soup) I walked up to Fairy Hill and sat for a while. I could see why back in the day the local people would think that it was a place where the gap between our world and  the fae folk was thin. I don’t think it’s a coincidence that there is a buddhist temple in this location, wiser people than me can see the magic of a place. So while upon  the top of the hill I made an intention to let go of the attachment to money. That’s not to say that I want to live without it, it just means that I am not attached to it. I will consciously try and notice when I get jealous around money, or angry about it. I don’t need to have a relationship with it like that any more. It’s just money, just in the same way that clouds are just weather. I can be thankful for it and not hung up on it. I am going to try and recognise when I’m getting sucked in again and meditate on detachment. This was one of the practises I learned today. I wonder what tomorrow will bring?

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Day one, samye ling

Arrived at Samye Ling this afternoon after a  two hour drive. The weather broke as soon as we started to pass Glasgow and the dark depressing clouds of a low pressure system that had been around for what feels like months lifted. Maybe stress and depression can be lifted as easily with this week’s retreat. I hope this week brings me back to self and I can stop stressing at work or about work.
When I arrived I felt an immediate sense of calmness, the birds were singing and day visitors were busy walking the grounds and sitting on the seating area outside the tea rooms. It actually felt too busy but I realised that the grounds were huge and I could get lost in them easily. I found a perfect spot by the river and watched a fish rise out the river, the sun glistened and I settled down on a bench. I then took my phone out and automatically start to Txt J. That was when it hit me. I suspected there wouldn’t be a signal or wi-fi but it’s not until you realise you can’t communicate with the one you love and tell her I love her.Its only then you realise how difficult it will be that it’s then a little painful, maybe this week will be harder than I thought.

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Paralysed

I feel paralysed.I can’t seem to motivate myself into changing my circumstances. Perhaps if I sit here long enough listening to the birds and stroking the next door neighbours cat things may change.

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Kale,Bacon and a portion of guilt.

This morning for mothers day I made a really tasty kale, bacon and poached eggs breakfast for my wife. Fresh eggs and U.K grown fresh in season Kale. At the same time I cooked a standard British breakfast of sausage, bacon and eggs with no sign of any green leafy veg attached for my son. As a parent I want to feed him all the best things but I knew he would appreciate the ordinary fry up better. Even though I know that the Kale is so much better for him I thought it would go to waste on his plate. Such guilt I felt as I lovingly plated the fry up for him. Then I realised, he’s 21! He’s a man that can make his own decisions and take responsibility for himself. Its not that I’ve eaten all the kale, there is loads more in the fridge. So I’ve decided to stop beating myself up about it (guilt is such a useless emotion) and give him the choice. I’ll tell him that there is one of the best leafy greens you can put into your body in the fridge and let him make the decision. Everyone has got to take responsibility for there own lives at some point, you can’t go around blaming your parents for everything. Its his choice…kale or not to kale. I may even show him my picture of my breakfast to help him decide. I feel so much better now, I’m off to play in the garden.

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Breakfast in Bed

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A rainy walks in the woods.

Even though it was raining and a bit murky on Saturday I had a great day clambering up Hermitage Woods in the Airthrey Estate at the back of Stirling University. I don’t mind the rain and when you’re in the woods this can be sheltered. I loved the thought of the estate having its own hermit and that he lived in a cave with its own viewpoint over Stirling. How fascinating is it to think that while the lord of the manor was taking in the view on a summers evening in their summer house, only a few yards away a hermit had exactly the same view. On a warm summers evening with plenty of fresh food and water foraged from the forest whose to say that the lords life was any better? I would love to think that the hermit would have had more peace of mind without the responsibility of an estate to look after. Maybe the compassion the Lord felt for the hermit made him feel good about sharing his estate with him. I hope it was that and not the fact that it was quite fashionable at the time to have a hermit live on your estate. Whatever the reason it would have been a great view, then and now.

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Hermits cave

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